The Namibian (Windhoek)

1 February 2013

Namibia: We Are All 'Struggle Kids'

Photo: IRIN
File photo of street children in Zambia.

column

This week, everyone and his illiterate cousin (including yours truly) had a full go on social media at the children of veterans who decided to fasten the laces on their well-worn shoes and set off on an epic journey from Outapi in the Omusati Region to the leafy hills of the nation's capital.

Their aim; to poke their sweaty fingers in the face of our servants and to demand jobs.

Namibians about to give birth are willing to ditch the squalor they live in and make the arduous 800km trip on foot to be seen and heard. They don't want to stay relegated to the backwaters of rural Namibia where hopelessness and poverty are growing like mushrooms in the dark. We've done this dance before...

The recurrent 'struggle kid' scenario lends itself to great comedy but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that these guys have legitimate concerns and gripes. Just like all other unemployed Namibian youth.

Hage Geingob's press release, instead of press conference, and passing the buck to Jerry comes over as aloof and detached. The prodigal son had an opportunity to show politicians' human face and understanding. Instead he showed politicians, regardless of how godly they think they are, are ill-equipped to deal with the problems we hope they can solve for us.

Even Hage's invocation of 'one Namibia one Nation' in his ill-advised statement will do nothing but confirm to us that the politicians have no appetite for solving this problem.

"Government cannot be held hostage..." said Hage.

So, who is government, oumes? Why draw a line between you and us? Are we, the people, not the government. Don't we have the right to hold the gun against our own heads?

It's time you start doing the work we pay you so handsomely for, give you all the trappings you desire, including loud sirens and big German cars in your extensive cavalcade.

The whole thing exposed government's tried and trusted and wildly successful formula of dealing with all our problems.

We never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Instead, our leaders continue to show how super clued up and tuned in they are.

The people suggested the Basic Income Grant, the politicians wiped their arses with that idea and are now considering a food bank.

The workers plead for a living wage, housing and better working conditions. The government lavishes sky high increases on already overpaid political office bearers. Oh, the workers get eight percent and a half-arsed lie about their housing benefit.

We, the people, decided to make free primary education one of the pillars on which we'll build our young democracy. The politicians decided to wipe their arses with it for over two decades and when they decide to finally comply, they fail to plan and organise the whole thing. Instead they turn it into a right royal farce.

The 'struggle kids' may not have expensively furnished offices and luxury cavalcades but they've done us a solid. They've once again exposed politicians' failure to deliver services and promises and how they pass the buck and their general uselessness.

When we look beyond our own silly little prejudices and our schadenfreude we would agree that we are all 'struggle kids'.

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InFocus

Namibia: Exile Children Demand Jobs

File photo of street children in Zambia.

A statement by the ruling party's secretary general angered a group of children called "struggle kids" who stormed into the party's headquarters demanding an explanation and a way ... Read more »